Ah the good old days when we had carburettors and metal fuel tanks. Used to change the fuel filter every 2 years on quite a lot of cars. But the pipe from the tank was generally low pressure, so just a couple of jubilee clips for a cylindrical filter usually under the car. No filter in the tank itself.
Modern cars have a large filter in the tank before the pump, which doesn't usually clog for 10 years or more due to the large surface area that fuel can enter through, rather than a small pipe on a low pressure system.
Back when I was at university I had a friend whose 1982 VW Polo would stutter and die at almost exactly 50 miles of driving due to the filter clogging. Leave it for an hour and all the dirt would get sucked back into the tank and you could do another 50 miles